Thank You For The Music
Mamma Mia! Farewell Tour debuts at The Saenger Theatre
“It’s great to know we are taking out the final leg of a huge legacy for the Mamma Mia! group,” said Betsy Padamonsky, the actress who plays Donna Sheridan in the current tour of Mamma Mia!. This week, the company made The Saenger Theatre on Canal Street their home as they continue on the musical’s national farewell tour.
Since 1999, fans of the Broadway show have been enjoying the touching story and toe-tapping music highlighting the songs of ABBA, the Swedish pop/dance group from the ‘70s, and composed by Benny Anderson and Bjorn Ulvaeus.
The musical follows the life of Sophie and Donna, mother/daughter duo who run a taverna on a Greek island. “The show is a heartwarming story about friendship, love – love lost, love found again,” explains Padamonsky, which she believes is why it resonates with so many viewers.
The themes of feminism, family and nostalgia all reign supreme, with a large female presence and with the underlying messages of empowering young women to make their own choices by following their intuition. It also shows mature women as strong, independent entities with fire in their soul.
Love, as well, is a key character throughout the three-hour production, as the entire show is based around Sophie’s impending nuptials. Chaos ensues when she reads her mother’s diary, finds out she has three possible fathers and decides to invite them all to the wedding – without telling her mother.
With “Dancing Queen,” “Super Trouper,” “Money, Money, Money,” and, of course, “Mamma Mia” guiding the play along, both women find themselves with a choice in the end. Does Sophie get married? Should Donna rekindle her former flame?
Padamonsky and the rest of the cast beautifully portray the show many have come to know and love. The singing is superb, the acting impeccable and the costumes are downright psychedelic at times.
The rest of the New Orleans residency of the Mamma Mia! Farewell Tour at The Saenger lasts until June 11. Tickets can be purchased online or at the box office.